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4 Ways to Help Control your Sugar Cravings
Sugar is hard to avoid. It’s in everything from candy to pasta sauce. It’s disguised under multiple different names like cane crystals and corn sweeteners. It’s incredibly addictive, making it hard to reduce its consumption. Sugar releases dopamine in the brain, making us feel good when we eat it. We have cravings for it. However, added sugar is a real problem. It has been linked to obesity and diabetes. When we eat a diet high in sugar, we tend to overindulge in empty calories. That leaves us hungry and wanting more. So, what can you do to reduce your sugar intake? We’ve compiled a few ways that can help you kick your sugar habit.
- Added Sugar Vs. Natural Sugar
- Sugar on Labels
- Eat the Right Foods
- Prevent the Cravings
Added Sugar V.S. Natural Sugar
Not all sugar is bad. While it might seem like a good idea to cut all types of sugar from your diet, the body does need a little to function. Indulging in a treat once in a while isn’t the problem. However, there are definitely some sugars that are better than others.
Added sugar can take the form of crystal sugar or sucrose. It is also found as High Fructose Corn Syrup, a common ingredient found in many manufactured foods. These types of sugars can cause inflammation in the body. It has also been linked to diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Much of this is due to weight gain as empty calories turn into stored fat. Added sugars cause an increase in blood glucose, which correlates with a diabetes diagnosis. The liver has a hard time processing fructose, therefore causing problems with regulating it within the body.
On the other hand, natural sugars derived from fruits and other foods do not cause inflammation. Many fruits and vegetables are considered anti-inflammatory. One of the main reasons sugars in fruits and vegetables is not harmful has to do with their overall genetic make-up. Table sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup are removed from their original form and highly processed. In their natural form, fruits and vegetables have many other nutrients which allow our body to process sugars well. When those other nutrients are removed, our body cannot process the sugar correctly. Whole foods help us absorb sugar more slowly and keep us less hungry overall.
Remove lots of processed foods from your diet. Eat as many whole foods as possible. Whole fruits, vegetables, and grains do not have to be avoided. Eating something sweet, like fruits, can help avoid cravings for junk food.
Sugar on Labels
As already mentioned, sugar can be called many different things on the label. The FDA requires all businesses to list how many grams of added sugar there are in their product. While this is definitely a step in the right direction, there are still issues. Fruit juices are labeled as being good for you. Juice has more sugar than soda, but it is labeled as all-natural. However, orange juice is a sugar bomb in disguise. Fiber has been removed from the fruit and therefore leaves all the sugar. This sugar may be natural, but because it does not have the other nutrients, it is quickly absorbed. It becomes the same thing as processed, manufactured sugar.
Fructose and glucose are two common types of sugars. The difference between them is that fructose is entirely absorbed by the liver. This is the exact type of sugar which leads to the development of type 2 diabetes. Most sugars have both types. According to Medical News Today, table sugar has 50% fructose and 50% glucose. It’s best to avoid sugar that is very high in fructose.
The best way to avoid added sugars is by reading the labels. Finding sugar can be difficult. Some have even been called healthy, like agave nectar. Other types of sugar include:
- Barley Malt
- Ethyl maltol
- Crystalline Fructose
Make sure to avoid as much of these added sugars as possible. They will only be detrimental to your overall metabolic health. They can be found in sodas, candies, cakes, and other packaged food. Always read the label and make sure you’re making healthy choices.
Eat the Right Foods
When you grab an apple or a banana, the best thing about it is not having to read a label. Manufacturers can’t add any sugar to fruits or vegetables. They contain all the vitamins and nutrients necessary for your body. The natural sugars will also satisfy your sugar cravings for cake or cookies. When you focus on eating unprocessed, whole foods, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to avoid added sugars. Snacking on nuts is also a good way to reduce sugar intake. However, it’s unrealistic to believe that you will avoid processed foods completely. You just have to know which those are.
While dried fruit might be popular, it tends to have lots of added sugar as a preservative. Freeze-dried fruits are becoming much more popular. They usually don’t have any added sugar and have a different, crunchier texture. These snacks even have the same nutrients as fresh or frozen fruit!
If you’re a fan of yogurt, there are plenty of different brands which provide low-sugar options. Stick to plain or vanilla yogurt. Mix-ins like granola and chocolate increase the sugar content. Look for brands that not only advertise “no sugar added” but actually show that on the nutrition label. Yogurt makes for a great healthy snack that provides probiotics and protein.
Foods that are high-fiber, high-protein, and high-fat are good choices when picking low-sugar foods. Whole grains like brown rice, oats, and quinoa, make good carbohydrate choices that will keep you full for longer.
Prevent the Cravings
The best way to cut back on sugars is to prevent the cravings in the first place. Look around your kitchen for tempting, sugary foods. Put these foods away where you won’t see them all the time. Keeping them out of sight, keeps them out of your thoughts. It also makes it more difficult to get to them. Place healthier foods in your immediate presence. You’ll be more likely to grab those than the doughnuts all the way up on your top shelf.
According to some, being dehydrated can also cause cravings. Keep yourself hydrated and drink your eight cups of water a day! This can also help you lose weight. Don’t reach for a soda or juice. The trick here is to drink water. Water is naturally free of sugar and
Another way to prevent cravings is to avoid stress. We tend to use junk food as a reward or a pick me up when we’re feeling down. Sugar boosts your mood and affects the pleasure centers of the brain. Therefore, minimizing stress as much as possible will keep you from reaching for junk food.
Of course, the best preventative measure is to make
Choosing healthy foods and snacks is all about the ingredients. That’s why we’ve created our products with fruits, nuts, and seeds. Dates and raisins provide all the sweetness, while nuts and seeds offer protein. There’s not a single gram of added sugar. All the sweetness comes straight from the fruits.
If you’d prefer something with no sugar at all, we also have sugar-free chewing gum. It’s perfect for when you’re on the go. Cut your sugar cravings with our products! Both our